Taglines and slogans are so prevalent in legal marketing that you can't drive 10 miles down a road without seeing "we are aggressive" or "we care" written on a billboard. Most lawyer taglines try to be different, but they are all variations of the same thing. If you searched for "lawyer taglines" on Google, you would find lists of hundreds of taglines. Having a slogan is something that many attorneys care deeply about, and many feel that picking just the right one is the most important thing they can do for their marketing.
But is it? We won't tell you that having a slogan is terrible, but we would like to show you why it is not as important as you may believe.
A Catchy Tagline is Meaningless if it Doesn't Represent You or Your Firm
Why do businesses have taglines? Slogans are a way to create a "brand" that customers can easily remember. A catchphrase is typically the only part of an ad people recall. Each Super Bowl, brands try to establish new slogans that people will chant and remember. Bud Light does this frequently with their ads, with some success. You'll hear people joke about "Dilly Dilly" or "the Bud Knight" during the game. It may seem silly, but these catchy rhymes or taglines help people remember the brand. The more memorable and repeatable, the better.
Somewhat unfortunately, attorneys are confined to adjectives that describe honesty and sincerity, and those types of taglines are rarely memorable. If you do find that golden goose of a slogan that is both catchy and genuine, use it and believe it.
However, if your tagline is "no case is too small" or "we care about every person who comes into our office," you better be prepared to live up to those expectations. A few unhappy people with small cases that you turned away will be sure to let the world know you don't live up to expectations in their Google reviews. That will damage your brand more than not having a tagline at all.
The key is establishing core values in your law firm and living by them. These core values don't need to be public (but great if they are), but they should mean something. A tagline or slogan is similar. You have to live up to that statement, and when you don't your customers will let you know.
Clients Don't Pick Their Lawyer Because of Their Tagline
Imagine you are shopping for a used car for your teenager who just got their driver's license. You want something safe, reliable, and affordable. There are two car lots, one with the slogan "safe, reliable, and affordable," and one that has excellent reviews and guarantees all their cars for a year. Does that tagline "safe, reliable, and affordable" mean more to you than the social proof and customer service?
The car lot with the better service and reviews will probably get your business. Why? Because that means more to you than the car lot that says all the right things. Con artists also say all the right things, but just because you like what they say doesn't mean you automatically trust them.
You are better off being the lawyer that has a reputation for excellence than the attorney who claims to have an excellent reputation.
Right now, I want you to stop reading this article and write down your ethical values as an attorney and a business owner. Write down as many as you believe are necessary. After you finish writing, I want you to meditate on how you can achieve those values. Consider each one carefully, and if you have room, write down precisely how your law firm can embody those values.
When you finish, review what you wrote. I bet that none of you wrote: "plaster my values all over my billboards." That is because screaming to the heavens "I care" doesn't make it real. You have to take action on your core values first. Embodying what you believe in will bring you more cases than yelling loudly about your values.
Your Marketing Can Be Excellent, Even Without a Tagline
Believe it or not, you can launch a high converting marketing campaign without a tagline, slogan, or catchphrase. It is not necessary. If the only marketing you knew was what you saw on TV or while driving down the road, you might assume differently. However, Great Legal Marketing doesn't teach you how to do the same things other attorneys are doing. We want to show you what works.
We have consulted with thousands of attorneys all over the world in all practice areas, and some of them have taglines and some don't. Our attorneys have launched campaigns with or without slogans and have seen an amazing return on investment, and not once have they said: "I would have gotten more clients if I used a tagline."
Taglines and slogans aren't good or bad. They are great if you believe in them and if they add value to your marketing. They are bad if they are a facade meant to lure customers in with empty promises and cheap words.
In most cases, lawyers pick their taglines because they think it will help their marketing. They choose something that sounds good and represents what they believe. They assume a slogan alone is the most important thing in their marketing. Don't be that attorney. Think about this article and decide if a tagline is important for you, or if you should use your time for more meaningful tasks at your law firm.
What’s Better than a Tagline? Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
I have already alluded to the unique selling proposition in this article a few times. What a USP means is "what makes you different than your competition?" It is the part of your law firm that is unique and separates you from other attorneys.
To create a unique selling proposition, you need to think of your law firm as a product. What is it that you can package and sell to clients that no other lawyer is doing? This could be as simple as having a special case process with a trademarked name that no other lawyer can claim. Attorneys can't promise a unique case results, but they can advertise their unique case system.
The goal is to set yourself apart with something more than words. Focusing on a slogan that has no meaning, or using the same marketing tactics as other attorneys won't differentiate you from other attorneys. Discovering what is unique about your law firm and capitalizing on it will help you much more than taglines and slogans.